It is very common for crowdfunding campaigns to fail without doing the proper due diligence. Many people assume that crowdfunding is easy when they hear the success stories of products that went viral on these platforms. However, like many things in life, it is unjust to assume the successful campaigns happened because the concept was great or it was great in design, often times the founders had to make it happen and give it the extra nudge in order to make it successful. Below is a list of 5 traits all successful campaigns share.
1: Creating a compelling product
All great ideas start with a problem, and all great products start with great execution. Campaigns on crowdfunding websites need to begin with developing a great product not just for the founders, but for a general public as well. When designing a product, if you can successfully pinpoint problems faced by common people, chances are it will be easier to define your marketing, as well as give a product that the market wants. But before you continue, campaign owners should take a long time verifying the market feasibility and analysis of this product. Consider whether or not the product hasn’t been out on the market because it simply couldn’t be produced due to technological or cost difficulties, or it was simply a great idea that no one has thought of. Most of the time, the latter is not the case.
2: Prepare for a product launch
A great product would not work either if the right marketing was conducted. Numerous kickstarter campaigns have relaunched because the initial momentum never picked up, leaving them in the deep waters, and never picked up by the search engine rankings of the platform. The numerous campaigns that go viral, all have picked up the same pattern.
o A massive email list prior to launching
o Launched with the support with family and friends
o Have the natural search engine rankings pick up the momentum and allow other people on platforms to back the project
o Shared with enormous press coverage in all aspects such as reviews, articles, founder interviews or blog posts
3: Endless marketing after launch
Work does not end when you have picked up momentum. This is when the actual work begins! Many successful campaign owners spend their every waking moment during their live campaign to email all their friends and family, or conduct press reviews and releases to ensure they can gain as much out of their campaign. Without constantly pushing your campaign out to the public, that momentum at the beginning will begin to die off, and you are now left with a mediocre campaign at best.
4: Well defined supply chain pre-established
What many campaign owners have not considered prior to launching is the massive scale of production required once they are funded. Many campaign owners prototype the goods, and run a campaign based on prototypes without having established previous backup vendors. What this means is if your campaign goes viral, you will no longer posses the true production capability it requires to get the product to your backers. We have seen this been a recurring theme throughout crowdfunding’s history. The Coolest Cooler, The Pebble Watch, The Arist Coffee Machine, and many many more have ran into production problems and failed to deliver their backers what they initially promised. What this does is create a negative brand image for the company, and let alone the product. With proper supply chain lined up prior to launching, the likelihood of this occurring dramatically lowers and ensures your project is delivered on time, and of quality.
5: Proper estimation of development costs
What many people fail to realize is the high developmental cost of a new hardware. The things that come into play are not what the average joe can handle. In a large organization, this process consists of teams upwards of hundreds to complete such task. As a start-up, besides having a proper team, it is crucial to have external members to outsource tasks for. Have an industrial engineer to help you out, have a supply chain expert help you with sourcing, have a few more electrical engineers and material engineers to make sure development is completed with with the proper level of calculation involved. Software is hard, but hardware is always harder, and that is what the campaign owners need to always keep on the back of their mind. There will always be hidden costs that arises, so prepare to fundraise well and calculate developmental fees prior to launching.
Brandon Lu is the director of business development at UBQ International, a supply chain solutions company aimed at start-ups and crowdfunding campaigns.